The Energy of the Sea

As I mentioned in my last post, we just got back Saturday from our vacation – a week living aboard a Scuba Diving boat in the  central Caribbean – St. Kitt’s and Saba. This was our third time living on a dive boat and there are so many things I love about this kind of trip.

First of all, a Live-aboard is a total immersion (pun intended) into the experience of Scuba. As our captain Tim said, all you do is eat, dive, eat, dive, eat, dive, eat, dive, eat… and if you so choose, dive again – at night. Also with all the diving, you’re burning calories like mad, so eating is not so guilt ridden.

And it’s so easy! You set up your gear once, and after that, the crew fills your tank at your station. So every dive involves rinsing your mask, putting on a wet suit, strapping on the gear and jumping in. Then you do the dive, come back to the boat, put your gear back in your station, rinse your wetsuit, take a warm shower and you’re ready to go again. It’s like the ultimate being/doing/being experience.

For me, Scuba diving creates a deep connection to our planet like no other. To be below the surface of the ocean, in a totally foreign environment with an explosion of primitive life all around – and I do mean all around – 360 degrees around – reminds me of the powerful creative potential of the Divine. On our fifth day at sea, I spent time scanning the fish and invertebrate identification books onboard. The thousands of species found in those pages, many of which I saw  and some of which I photographed while diving this past week instills a sense of awe for me.

I have often said that I’m just a visitor in those depths, but after this trip, I changed my mind. Yes, I have to get on a boat, strap a tank on my back and breathe through a hose to go to these places, but as you can see from these photos, many of the creatures there let me get very close to them. Here are a couple of spotted file fish, and they were as curious about me as I was about them. I love their energy and curiosity – they somehow knew I wasn’t going to hurt them.

When I dive, I’m very conscious of the fragility of the reef environment. I’m careful to not touch anything and I watch where I place my fins. And the primitive nature of the reef where I’m told life originated and also where life continues to express, is a reminder of my connection to all – coral polyps, sea slugs, jellyfish, lobsters, fish, dolphins – coexist in a place where few get to visit.

Now I’m back on dry land, but I’ll carry that energy with me. And share it with you. Here are a few more pictures. And, by the way, all of the photos I have posted so far are unretouched. I love my new camera and I’ll be talking more about that with more pics next time! Next post: Zen and the Art of Underwater Photography.



©CathyUlrich and LargeSelf, 2012

12 comments on “The Energy of the Sea

  1. Gorgeous. I’m terrified of scuba diving—it’s a completely irrational fear but the idea of breathing from a tank scares me greatly (even though of course I know it’s better than drowning!). However, it must be so beautiful to be able to swim with the fish and see everything down there. I would love that part. So glad you had a great trip, looking forward to reading & seeing more about it.


    • Cathy Ulrich says:

      Thank you, MW! I can understand how diving would be intimidating. It’s definitely a sport that can be very dangerous if not taken seriously and without proper training. But yes, it is such a different world below the surface of the ocean. I’m still intimidated by diving at night, yet, there are those who swear by it. Something about not being able to see beyond my little dive light really bothers me. But during the day, I’m fine. Sky diving on the other hand? Not me, makes no sense to jump out of a perfectly good airplane! 🙂


  2. Your pictures are gorgeous.

    I have awarded you the “One lovely blog award“. I would love to see what blogs you would pick on. Do you mind if I put your picture on that post? (to be published 9pm UTC)


  3. chrisnvix says:

    Great post. I miss live aboards, been too long since I’ve gotten to do that style of diving and you’re so right at how easy they make it for you. If you want a fantastic dive live aboard I did the Komodo Dancer a few years back and everything was awesome on that trip. Diving, food, staff. If you’re ever out in Fiji looks us up for a dive or two. Always fun to dive with a fellow photographer.
    Keep on blowing bubbles.


    • Cathy Ulrich says:

      Thanks, Chris. I went and looked at your Facebook page and new blog! Beautiful photos! Am now following and will enjoy seeing what you and Vicky are up to. Yes, live aboards are the bomb! We were on the Caribbean Explorer II. We’ve also done Aquacat in the Bahamas a couple of times. And I have heard of the Komodo Dancer. And Fiji is definitely on my bucket list of places to dive. I so want to see (and photograph)clown fish in their natural environment – love those guys. And do check back for my next post – I’ll be talking about my experiences with underwater photography – I’m certainly not an expert – but getting better and better and I think even experienced “landlubber” photographers have no idea what’s involved in getting decent shots in the underwater environment. Congrats on your new blog!



  4. russtowne says:

    Beautiful photos and commentary, Cathy! Thank you for sharing them!


  5. athenabrady1 says:

    Amazing photographs Cathy.


  6. Gina's Professions for PEACE says:

    Cathy, I have to thank you for this amazing post and photography that helped me feel like I went on the trip with you! I especially enjoyed how you shared about feeling an even deeper connection with the Divine through witnessing the amazing explosion of life! And those two amusing Spotted File fish are adorable, especially with your comments about them. Thank you for this beautifully written article that brought me to the Caribbean. Love, Gina


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